“Do you know that store Forever 21?” I asked The Devil as I fished a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler.
As always, my Sunday guest was dressed in an impeccably tailored suit. He did not even glance up from the Sunday paper to answer my question.
“Sure, I’ve heard of it,” Lucifer replied as he turned the page. “It’s not my style, but I am aware of the chain. Before you ask, you are definitely too old to shop there.”
I could see his devilish grin behind the newspaper, but I chose to ignore it.
“I was thinking about opening a chain of stores called Forever Single,” I shared before taking a long sip of my Snapple.
The Prince of Darkness laughed loudly and put down the paper so that he could applaud what he thought was a joke.
“I love it. You can sell sweatpants, oversized hoodies, pajama bottoms, and ratty tee shirts,” he volunteered with a smile.
“And why limit it to clothing?” he continued. “You could also sell food. Row after row of freezers stocking every flavor of ice cream imaginable in convenient pint size containers. Of course, you’d also need all the other comfort foods so there’s always something on hand for those lonely nights crying in front of the TV as you watch whatever sappy movie is on the Hallmark Channel.”
I stared at him in disgust, but he was too busy laughing at his own jokes to even notice.
“You’d probably also want a section devoted to cat supplies,” Satan managed to get out between the laughter. “No offense, Cali, but your Daddy is going to end up a crazy cat man if he doesn’t go on a date soon.”
I slammed down my empty bottle of Snapple on the table in anger, which led to a sudden end of all negative jokes about the single life.
“Why did you immediately jump to a place of mocking?” I demanded. “Do you really think my single status to be that pathetic?”
“My apologizes,” The Devil offered as he wiped the smile off his handsome face. “You’re usually so negative and, yes, a little pathetic when you talk about dating and relationships, so I thought this was just another rant about how much you hate being single. I was simply trying to lighten the mood with some witty humor.”
“For you information,” I began as I could sense my face redden with both rage and embarrassment, “my vision for Forever Single is not at all pathetic. In fact, it is quite empowering for those who do not have a significant other.”
I stood up because I was totally in the mood to talk down to the smug, stuck up prick currently occupying the other end of my couch.
“Forever Single would offer clothing to make someone feel great whenever he went out, even if it was alone,” I explained. “Plus, there would be an awesome gift department and helpful salespeople who would assist a single person when he needed to find that perfect something to bring to a party. And healthy food and cookbooks to prepare delicious meals for one. To top it all off, there would be an amazing book section because no one is truly alone when lost in a good book.”
Lucifer neatly folded the section of the newspaper he had been reading.
“That sounds lovely,” he assured me. “I’m sorry I made fun of your idea.”
“That’s okay,” I forgave him begrudgingly as I grabbed another Snapple out of the cooler.
“Now would your store have helpful salespeople on hand to assist a discerning customer in the purchase of the perfect brand of catnip for his twenty-seven cats?” The Prince of Darkness asked with a straight face.
I couldn’t help it. I had to laugh.
“Who am I kidding?” I finally asked. “Your ideas are so much better. Do you think you can help me set up meetings with investors?”
And by becoming the multi-millionaire CEO of a national store chain, Modern Philosophers, I was finally able to come to terms with being forever single…
The Cynic in me says that as the multi millionaire ceo you would no longer be single. Much married maybe……..
You might very well be correct. 🙂
Entertaining, as ever! I do wish you well. Your idea sounds marvellous, I specially liked the line ‘because no-one is truly alone when lost in a good book’ – true words, my friend.
I will let you know when a store opens near you. 🙂
I like your style of writing, the dialogue driven action. I married at the age of 24, which was late where I came from. Before I met my husband I was happy being single, and didn’t intend to settle down with one man for a long time, but parental pressure wore me down. After we married, I often regretted getting married, because I was no longer free to take off for the weekend or spend money the way I wanted to. I could no longer call a plum and some cashews dinner. I had to cook, night after night… and then the kids came along and I really felt trapped. So this story and its message are a breath of fresh air as far as I am concerned.
I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
I appreciated both ideas; the Devil’s and yours. Both useful and helpful, for dealing with “the singles’ life!” (specially the gift section!)
Maybe we’ll make the store a mix of both. 🙂
Appealing to the pyramid’s bottom always works! Ask Lucifer to give you a hint: he invented cheap fast food, anyways 🙂
Thanks for the tip. 😉